MIFA - DAY 3: Netflix showcased the power of its animation slate

Featuring award-winning filmmakers and the Netflix team, the showcase celebrated various animated stories across preschool, kids, anime, adult, and family tent poles films and series.


Netflix took over the Théâtre Bonlieu stage at the 61st Annecy International Animation Film Festival to present its Netflix Animation Showcase. Featuring award-winning filmmakers and the Netflix team, the showcase celebrated Netflix’s variety of animated stories across its preschool, kids, anime, adult, and family tent poles films and series.

The showcase began with an exclusive sneak peek at "The Sea Beast," an epic sea monster adventure directed by Chris Williams, which comes to Netflix on 8 July. “When I was a kid, I loved big adventure stories like 'The Raiders of the Lost Ark,' 'King Kong' and 'Lawrence of Arabia,' and I wanted to make a movie that captured that spirit. A movie that is forward-looking and at the same time acknowledges its influences in those classic adventure stories,” Chris William said.

Next up, Henry Selick, director of "Wendell & Wild" introduced a clip from the animated tale starring Jordan Peele and Keegan-Michael Key. “As a filmmaker, I believe animation isn't a genre unto itself, it's a way to tell all sorts of stories. I choose stop motion animation which is the oldest type of animation in fact of filmmaking that there is. Stop motion for me is the most magical way to tell stories. It feels like actual magic, real magic and so that's why I am going to stick with it and why the stories I will choose to tell will be told in stop motion,” Henry Sellick said.

The director of "My Father’s Dragon," Nora Twomey took to the stage and spoke about working on the creative journey behind her film with the five-time Academy Award-nominated animation studio Cartoon Saloon. “The best thing about my job as a director is that I get to guide writers, storyboarders, character animators, FX artists, and painters as they build worlds that feel real on an emotional level,” Towney said. “I witnessed each artist's thought process - the truth behind every hand-drawn frame. We were a team working together, yet often remotely, through challenging circumstances; each artist crafting a story to help us all feel like we're not alone in this scary world,” added Nora Twomey.

From a dragon to an elephant, Wendy Rogers, director of "The Magician’s Elephant" presented a special video of the title. “I think we have been really lucky to be able to make this film at Netflix because there is no house style, so they are open to films that don’t fit a mold. This film is different from other films. It has a different tone. I am very excited we are able to bring all of the current animation technology and performance and the maturity of this artform into this film,” Rogers stated.

The co-directors of "Nimona," Nick Bruno & Troy Quane spoke about their animated film based on the award-winning graphic novel by ND Stevenson which stars Chloë Grace Moretz, Riz Ahmed, and Eugene Lee Yang. Set in a techno-medieval world unlike anything animation has tackled before, "Nimona" is a story about the labels we assign to people and the shapeshifter who refuses to be defined by anyone. “This story has everything. Punk rock anarchy, murder, comedy, murder, knights, flying cars, shapeshifters, murder, and love. We couldn't do it alone and some real-life heroes stepped up. We like to refer to them as our knights and also our chosen family: Annapurna, DNEG, and of course Netflix," Nick Bruno & Troy Quane explained.

With more than half of Netflix’s estimated global 222 million members having watched anime in the last year, the showcase gave a nod to upcoming anime projects including a sneak peek at Hiroyasu Ishida's "Drifting Home." “For the longest time, I feel like I was drawn to the appearance of housing complexes. From the very beginning, I was wondering if there was a way of making a story out of the pair of characters, Kosuke and Natsume, and a housing complex setting. I kept brainstorming on paper, I somehow came up with a scenario that involved drifting. There was a drawing where I simply placed a single housing complex in the middle of the ocean. It was after this drawing that we were able to decide on the general direction of this project. It was the first big step," Hiroyasu Ishida said. 

Up next was a presentation on the upcoming preschool series, "Spirit Rangers" created by Karissa Valencia and executive produced by Chris Nee. “When I first met Karissa, I knew that she was a young, promising, and talented storyteller, and when I found out that she was Native American, I knew that we needed her voice and I wanted to know what stories she wanted to tell from her unique point of view," Chris Nee said.

Speaking about the representation in the pre-school series, Karissa Valencia said, "Spirit Rangers has been a dream job for me. Not only do I get to make an epic, fantasy show, but I also get to battle those feelings of reassurance that Native kids still deal with today.” She went on to add, "I can't wait for Native kids to see themselves on screen for the first time in a long time in modern space."

"My Dad The Bounty Hunter" co-creator Everett Downing stated that the series “is a love letter to animation, science fiction and black families rolled into this action-packed comedy,” and co-creator Patrick Harpin added, “we thought of everything we loved about sci-fi and put it into the pot from, The Last Starfighter, to John Carpenter movies to The Fifth Element.”

In a new Inside the Animation video debuted, "Love, Death + Robots" executive producer and director David Fincher added “My hope is that we never get to a point where we have succinctly defined what LDR is – that would be boring,” when discussing his directorial debut in animation “Bad Travelling.”

Scott ‘Kid Cudi’ Mescudi, Fletcher Moules & Maurice Williams took to the stage to discuss their new television event, "Entergalactic," which is set to premiere on Friday, September 30 on Netflix. From the minds of Kid Cudi and Kenya Barris, "Entergalactic" is about two young artists navigating the twists and turns of finding love in New York City. Scott Mescudi talking about the project said, “this is a modern-day love story that will make you fall in love all over again.”

Netflix’s Animation showcase wrapped with a much anticipated exclusive never before seen look at Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio". Guillermo del Toro presented the upcoming stop-motion reimagining of the classic Italian tale and said, “This is the decade where we can drive home the mantra we all know, that animation is film, animation is not a f***ing genre."

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